On June 8th, my wife and I hosted our tenth edition of the Beverley Concert Series. The night was guest curated by our friend, colleague, and upstairs neighbor Marika Hughes. It was a fantastic night. We heard music from Dina Maccabee and the Arun Ramamurthy Trio. Both sets were excellent.
The Arun Ramamurthy Trio featured Arun on violin, Sameer Gupta on tabla, and Abhik Mukherjee on sitar. They played a fusion of North Indian and South Indian classical music, and it really spoke to me. I had heard snippets of this kind of music before, but never live in concert and never in as focused of an environment. Arun explained some of what they were doing, which helped to make it accessible. I've since been listening to various recordings of Indian classical music during the last month.
The Unknown is a simple imitation of such music. Without really studying it, I've taken some ideas and tried to incorporate them into something personal, and find a way to make them fit the Messiaen project.
I began by choosing a scale to work with, the second transposition of mode three. I spent a few days improvising with the scale and then decided to find a pedal tone to imitate the drone of Indian Classical music. Then I composed the line. It's quite minimal, and I kept thinking about adding more, but soon realized that the line and the pedal point were plenty for inspiring improvisation. It was enjoyable as it is. The composition is seven measures, but the piece is seven minutes.
Humbly speaking, I think there is something honest about this simplified, unanalyzed imitation. It's perhaps similar to a child learning something new, just going for it, playing with it, exploring. I strive to have child-like sense of discovery as I go through the day, week, year, life.